With serious illness one is quickly stripped naked for all to see. The different masks we hide behind dissolve. All I identified with as my self was breaking up and dispersing. I was experiencing the truth of the Buddha’s teachings of impermanence firsthand. I had been robbed of my cherished health in a matter of a couple short weeks. My good reputation at the company I worked for meant nothing now. Decades of eating well, exercising, doing yoga, conscientious work habits, daily meditation, all were gone. Here I lay, very thin, applying for a disability pension, and unable even to sit up in bed. I had no guarantee of a future, my past identity had been eradicated, and the present was demanding one hundred percent of my attention. However grim that sounds, I was now free. Free from myself. Free from that drive for perfection. Free from attachments to ideas of who and what I was or should be. The slate had been wiped clean. The leukemia had forced me to live in the present, here and now. This is the way of Zen: the ever changing entity called “myself” responding fully to conditions of the moment, flowing from one thing to the next.
Excerpted from:Lotus in the Fire: The Healing Power of Zen by Jim Bedard, page 59. From Shambala.com “Zen Qoute Of The Week. Thank You.